About Us

Mission Statement

Our mission is to protect, conserve, and restore natural resources through education, information, and technical assistance programs.

What We Do

People depend on soil, water, air, plants, and animals to survive. These natural resources are the source of our food, shelter, clothing, and recreation. The Resource Conservation District (RCD) of Greater San Diego County provides technical, financial, and educational assistance to help both rural and urban communities conserve, protect, and restore these natural resources.

RCD services are wide and varied to meet the diverse needs of the county’s residents, agencies, and businesses. The RCD provides soil and water conservation assistance to landowners, homeowners, growers, ranchers, schools, environmental organizations, government agencies, and consultants.

A partial list of available programs and information follows:

  • The RCD, in partnership with the USDA’s Natural Resource Conservation Service (NRCS), may provide land users access to technical assistance for conservation practices such as irrigation and water management, erosion and flood control, waste management, and habitat restoration. Information on fire protection and pollution prevention is also available.
  • The RCD manages the programs of the Fire Safe Council of San Diego County including support to community fire safe councils and fuel reduction programs. See www.firesafesdcounty.org for information on programs and volunteer opportunities in your community.
  • Through our Watershed Education Program, we provide hour-long, interactive presentations about storm water pollution prevention for elementary school classes.
  • The RCD manages the Tijuana River Valley Community Garden in partnership with the San Diego County Department of Parks and Recreation. Local gardeners lease one hundred thirty-six plots.
  • Qualifying students can apply for five RCD Conservation Scholarships offered annually.
  • The RCD manages the San Diego Garden-based Learning Resource Center.
  • The RCD provides access to technical assistance for government agencies for the practice of conservation such as stormwater runoff, erosion and flood control, and habitat restoration.

History

The RCD of Greater San Diego County is a local government agency and an independent Special District, formed in 1996 and self-governed by a seven-member Board of Directors. Separate from County, State and Federal agencies, an RCD is charged with locally securing “the adoption of conservation practices including but not limited to, farm, range, open space, urban development, wildlife, recreation, watershed, water quality and woodland, best adapted to save the basic resources of the State from unreasonable and preventable waste and destruction”.

(ref: Div. 9 of the California Public Resources Code, Section 9001 – Declaration of Policy; Purposes)

The RCD of Greater San Diego County consolidated from eleven smaller Districts over the years to what it is today. The District’s boundary now encompasses a service area of approximately 2,886 square miles or 1,847,300 acres. The adopted sphere of influence includes all types of land use and falls within all, or portions, of a number of incorporated communities.

Today there are three RCDs working within San Diego County:

  • The RCD of Greater San Diego County
  • Mission RCD
  • Upper San Luis Rey RCD

The District obtains its funding from a number of private and public grants, corporate and individual tax-deductible donations, and unassessed property taxes.  The Board of Directors is responsible for setting policy and fiscal oversight. The RCD Staff is responsible for the implementation of all District programs.

What is a RESOURCE CONSERVATION DISTRICT?

A Resource Conservation District is an independent, non-enterprise (local government) Special District organized under Division 9 of the California Public Resources Code. The District is authorized and directed to promote and provide conservation education, conduct research, and to advise and assist other public agencies and private individuals in the areas of land-use planning, soil and water conservation, wildlife habitat enhancement and restoration, control of exotic plant species, and watershed restoration.

Resource Conservation Districts are non-regulatory agencies. RCDs can advise regulatory agencies and act as intermediaries between other agencies. Certain federal benefits are available to counties and cities only through these Special Districts.

The general powers of an RCD include:

  • Conduct surveys, research, and disseminate information
  • Accept financial gifts and grants
  • Accept fees for services
  • Contract with agents, officers, and employees
  • Acquire lands and properties
  • Take conveyances, leases, and contracts
  • Conduct improvements and operations on public and private lands
  • Operation and maintenance of works constructed by District
  • Demonstration projects
  • Assistance to private landowners or land occupants; loan or rental of equipment; eligibility of director as landowner to receive assistance or loan
  • Development of annual and long-range plans
  • Acceptance and administration of projects located within District
  • Management of projects within District as agent
  • Cropping and tillage operations and range practices
  • Cooperation with other Districts; association of Districts
  • Legislative intent; conservation between State and federal agencies
  • District Attorney or County Counsel; legal advice and assistance
  • Educational programs; awards and prizes
  • Advisory committees

The RCD works closely with an extensive list of partners to carry out the District’s responsibilities for providing leadership to identify local resource conservation needs, advocate for effective solutions, and work with appropriate parties on implementation.

Staff

Sheryl Landrum, District Manager

Chris Kelley, Financial Coordinator

Ann Baldridge, Education Coordinator

Chris Foran, Executive Assistant

Sean Kluesner, Forester

Britney Munoz, Program Assistant

Kaylie Caires, Education Assistant

Position vacancies:

The RCD is not hiring at this time. Please check back for future vacancies.

LINKS AND PARTNERS

Please note that many of the organizations linked here are not easily categorized. For instance, a conservation-minded organization could just as well serve as an educational resource. So browse around for a while to get a good sense of the resources available – you will not be disappointed!

Other RCDs and the NRCS

Includes the California and National Association of Conservation Districts

Resource-related agencies and organizations

For information on wetlands, resource planning, the latest research, etc.

Other conservation-minded organizations

Look here for parks, sustainability, and biological diversity

Agriculture Resources

Web resources for the farmer, rancher, or agriculture researcher

Educational Resources

Resources for agricultural and garden based learning

Field Trip Destinations

Agricultural and conservation related field trip providers in San Diego County

OTHER RCDS AND THE NRCS

Resource Conservation District Directory

Access this site for a complete listing of conservation districts that have made it to the web.

California Association of Resource Conservation Districts

Information on RCDs throughout the State of California.

National Association of Conservation Districts

This site is designed to educate the general public about districts and conservation and help conservationists more easily connect with one another and acquire information from NACD.

USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service

The homepage for RCD’s partner. Access soil information, best management practices, wetlands information and more.

RESOURCE RELATED ORGANIZATIONS

Association of California Water Agencies

ACWA is a statewide association whose 420 public water agency members are responsible for 90% of the water delivered in California. The page provides information on the association activities, pertinent regulations and legislation, plus links to other water resources.

California Department of Water Resources

Dedicated to managing the water resources of California in cooperation with other agencies for the benefit of the State’s people while protecting, restoring and enhancing the natural and human environments, this organization’s site contains information on state water projects, water conditions and quality, and California water maps and information.

County of San Diego Department of Parks and Recreation

S.D. County Parks publishes a county-wide listing of programs, regional parks, local visitor centers and exciting events. Check out this site for fun things to do outdoors in San Diego.

SelecTree

SelecTree is an interactive program being developed on the World Wide Web, designed to match trees with planting sites. SelecTree will search a database of 1,156 trees with over 60 tree and site characteristics. California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection and the Urban Forest Ecosystems Institute sponsor the program. Their phone number is (408) 427-1718.

California Environmental Resources Evaluation System

CERES will provide a path to: California Resources Agency, California Biodiversity Council, Natural Community Conservation Planning and California Wetlands Information System·

California Farm Water Coalition

The coalition’s mission is to increase awareness of agriculture’s use of water for economic, environmental, and social contributions to the people of California. This page provides information on the organization’s activities, educational outreach and member services.

San Diego Integrated Regional Water Management

Integrated Regional Water Management (IRWM) is a relatively new initiative, aimed at developing long-term water supply reliability, improving water quality, and protecting natural resources.

State Water Resources Control Board

State assessment of water quality plus a path to the Regional Water Quality Control Board.

National Watershed Network

CTIC is unable to update the Network information. With secure funding and participation, CTIC can revise the National Watershed Network to provide the best possible information.  Visit the EPA’s Surf Your Watershed to view current National Watershed Network information.

OTHER CONSERVATION-MINDED ORGANIZATIONS

California Institute for Biodiversity

Featuring, among other things, interactive CD-ROMs entitled Cal Alive! An Ecological Journey Through the State. The CD-ROMs are a central feature of the new statewide ecological curriculum for California, and are designed for use in the classroom or media center. Address: 11 Embarcadero West, Suite 120, Oakland, CA 94607, USA. Ph: 510-444-6629 Fax: 510-444-6605.

Soil and Water Conservation Society

SWCS is a nonprofit, multidisciplinary organization for natural resource management professionals. The Society fosters the science and the art of soil, water, and related natural resource management to achieve sustainability. The site has information on the organization’s activities, journals, related links, and education resources.

Sustainable Communities Network

Learn about sustainable communities and the fundamentals of sustainability with the website from the Sustainable Communities Network Partnership. Subject areas integrate the many aspects of sustainable community development, case studies, resource files, links to databases, upcoming events, and suggested readings.

AGRICULTURAL & GARDENING RESOURCES

American Farmland Trust

A private, nonprofit membership organization founded in 1980 to protect the nation’s agricultural resources.

California Department of Food and Agriculture

The site includes program information (covering everything from inspection services to marketing to the animal and plant industry), job opportunities, education outreach information and more.

California Energy Commission

From the California Energy Commission, the purpose of the program is to promote the efficient use of energy resources among California’s food and fiber industry. To achieve its goal, the program provides technical support and financial assistance to demonstrate energy efficient technologies and practices; produces educational materials and delivers training programs; evaluates project results and conducts technology transfer activities. These efforts are funded with grants and low-interest loans from the federal Petroleum Violation Escrow Account.

California Invasive Plant Council

Cal-IPC is a nonprofit organization that works to protect California’s wildlands from invasive plants through research, restoration, and education. Their website includes information for land managers, gardeners, and anyone who wants to learn more about invasive plants.

Department of Pesticide Regulation

Provided by the California Environmental Protection Agency, the Department is responsible for regulating the safe use of pesticides in the state of California. The site is also a great resource for the latest regulations, pesticide updates, program information and assistance, and more.

Fertilizer Research & Education Program

Sponsored by the California Department of Food and Agriculture, the Fertilizer Research and Education Program (FREP) was created to advance environmentally safe use and handling of fertilizer materials. Most of FREP’s current work is concerned specifically with nitrate contamination of groundwater. FREP facilitates and coordinates research and demonstration projects by providing funding, developing and disseminating information, and serving as a clearinghouse on information on this topic. FREP serves growers, agricultural supply and service professionals, extension personnel, public agencies, consultants, and other interested parties.

Luca & Micaela Nursery

L&M is a nursery in Vista that aims to provide the best in butterfly habitat and vegetaion. They are the suppliers for Butterfly Farms.

National Gardening Association

The National Gardening Association (NGA) grant and award programs are funded by generous corporations and foundations that share NGA’s vision of a greener future and belief in the powerful impact gardening programs can have on the mental, physical, and psychological health of individuals. Beginning with 50 Youth Garden Grants in 1982, NGA has delivered 9,596 grants and awards worth approximately $3.96 million, reaching an estimated 1.6 million young gardeners.

Range and Pasture Technical Resources

Cropland, forestland, pastureland, and rangeland comprise the major land uses in the United States and the land uses receiving the majority of the conservation treatment that address our soil, water, air, plant, and animal resources.  It is the NRCS role to provide national leadership and technical assistance for the conservation of our natural resources to ensure the continued production of food and fiber.

San Diego Master Gardeners

Master Gardeners are a wonderful resource for gardeners, and here in San Diego we have over 200 Master Gardeners available to give free advice about home and school gardening and pest control across the county.

Sustainable Agriculture Network

Featured on this user friendly amalgam are on-line books and a database of more than 1,000 research projects funded by USDA’s Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education Program. Also on-site is “The Sustainable Agriculture Directory of Expertise,” a compilation of nearly 1,000 individuals and more than 200 organizations throughout the U.S. and two territories.

Sustainable Agriculture Research & Education Program

A partner with the Cooperative Extension (above), SAREP funds research and education projects working to ensure a sustainable future for agriculture and the natural and human resources upon which we depend.

University of California Cooperative Extension

An organization of research, demonstrations, and educational programs for the promotion of sustainable and healthy agriculture.

University of California Statewide Integrated Pest Management Project

A system designed to develop and promote the use of integrated, ecologically sound pest management programs in California. The site includes educational materials, related resources, grant opportunities and more.

EDUCATIONAL RESOURCES

California Foundation for Agriculture in the Classroom

The Foundation works with K- 12 teachers, community leaders, media representatives and government executives to enhance education using agricultural examples. The site contains information on the organization’s programs, outreach, and education resources.

Children of the Earth

Children of the Earth United~ Environmental Education for Kids, Families and Teachers. Learn about Animals, Plants, Ecology, Nature, Environmental Issues, Native Wisdom, Nature Centers, Activities, Books and much more.

Earth Easy

Information on building raised beds for your garden.

EECapacity

What is EECapacity (Expanding Capacity in Environmental Education Project)? How do we diversify and strengthen the field of environmental education (EE)? How can we provide multiple opportunities for people to join in discussions about environmental education, share success stories, and learn about the best practices from across the globe? What does environmental education look like in an increasingly urban and racially and ethnically diverse world? How do we promote innovation in the field?

EELinked

More than a searchable catalog of internet links about environmental education, EE is a global community of environmental educators. Here you can easily find and download materials, post your own content, ask questions, share lesson plans and resources, and find and collaborate with EE partners. Tell your story to environmental educators, share your successes, comment on resources, and build on each others program ideas.

Fresh Fruits and Vegetables: A Centerpiece for a Healthy School Environment (FFVHCSE)

A collection of downloadable resources related to the FFVCHSE training that supports the incorporation of more fresh produce into schools. Includes a wide range of topics including “garden to cafeteria” programs and wellness policies.

Give Water A Hand

Join young people from around the country who are learning about water issues in their communities and what they – and you! – can do to help.

Global Rivers Environmental Education Network (GREEN)

The Global Rivers Environmental Education Network program (GREEN) provides opportunities for young people to learn more about the watersheds they live in and to use their findings to create lasting solutions for pressing water quality issues

Harvest of the Month

Created by the California Department of Public Health and the Network for a Healthy California. Free downloadable fruit and vegetable fact sheets with elementary level curriculum applications, organized by season and month.

Mountain Meadows Mushrooms

Bring your class to take a free tour, and free compost for your school garden.

Producepedia (created by the Western Growers Association)

Producepedia is a website about loving fruits and vegetables and the farmers that grow them. Did you know that California and Arizona produce farmers grow more than half the fruit and vegetables found in grocery stores across America?

Project Learning Tree

At Project Learning Tree, our goal is to teach students how to think, not what to think about complex environmental issues. Recognized as a leader in environmental education for more than 35 years, PLT enhances critical thinking, problem solving, and effective decision-making skills, teaching students to weigh various sides of an environmental issue to make informed and responsible decisions. PLT materials are multidisciplinary and aligned with state and national education standards.

San Diego Agriculture in the Classroom

Teacher scholarships to the State CFAITC Conference, annual grants for school gardens, and teacher resource fair every October — meet local farmers.

Schoolyard Habitat Program, Fish and Wildlife Service

Get technical advise, teacher training, funding, and lesson material. Learn how to create your own wildlife habitat at your school.

Solana Center for Environmental Innovation

Solana Center offers worm bins for your classroom or school, composting resources, and gardening workshops. The center will give you directions to build your own compost or worm bin!

The Butterfly Site

Information on plants to attract butterflies and a state-by-state guide to butterflies and their host plants.

The Young Scientist’s Introduction to Wetlands

Publication for K-5 addresses What is a wetland? Wetland plants: Wetland animals; Wetland types; visiting a wetland and value of wetlands.

US Geological Survey – Science Education

K-12 Education curriculum, exploration and life-long learning. A must see for educators!

LOCAL FIELD TRIP DESTINATIONS

Butterfly Farms

Butterfly Farms, located in Vista, aims to conserve native butterflies through education and conservation. They welcome school groups, garden clubs, and interested individuals to tour their grounds and vivarium.

Flower Fields at Carlsbad Ranch

Seed and Bulb Growing Program for kindergarten to grade 5. Classroom Presentations – September to February, and tours – March to April. Contact: (760) 930-9123 — 5704 Paseo del Norte, Carlsbad, CA

Heritage Gardens of Old Town

Native American Garden, Heritage Kitchen Garden, and La Casa de Estudillo is a mansion built around a garden courtyard, Heritage orchard.

Los Peñasquitos Ranch House

A visitor to Rancho los Peñasquitos will discover, in one place, more than 8,000 years of San Diego history. Its bountiful natural resources made it ideal not only for the millennia of Native American habitation, but for the 19th-century settlers. A portion of the ranch house adobe was built in 1823, making it one of the oldest existing structures in San Diego. Much of the rest of this elegant ranch house was built in the 1860s. The rancho is situated in a canyon that features miles of trails through riparian and grassland habitats. Free docent-led tours of the historic preserve will provide vivid illustrations of what life was like for its Spanish, Mexican, and early American inhabitants (weekends and by appointment). The La Vida del Rancho school program offers elementary school children an opportunity to experience daily life as it was lived in the 1800s. Rancho los Peñasquitos is a National Register Historic and Archaeological District. Contact: 760-724-4082 — 12020 Black Mountain Road, San Diego, CA 92129

Olivewood Gardens and Learning Center

Olivewood has large educational and production garden. All programs are garden-based nutrition education and academic explorations. All of the plants are grown organically. Contact: (619) 434-4281 — 2505 N Ave., National City, CA 91950

San Diego Botanic Garden (formerly Quail Botanical Gardens)

Seeds of Wonder Children’s Garden with over 20 themed garden exhibits, and fire wise landscaping display. Contact: (760) 436-3036 — 230 Quail Gardens Dr., Encinitas, CA 92024

Stein Family Farm – National City Living History Farm Preserve

The Steim farm is an original homestead with a barn, grove, and raised beds gardens. Please call for group and school tours by appointment only. Annual Events – Farm Days (March) and May/Arbor Day. Contact: (619) 477-4113 — 1808 F Ave., National City, CA 91950

The Water Conservation Garden

Nearly five acres of beautiful themed demonstration gardens. A range of programs including workshops, tours for schools and other groups, training in water conservation for professional landscapers are offered. Contact: (619) 660-0614 — 12122 Cuyamaca College Dr West, El Cajon, CA 92019

Wild Willow Farm and Education Center

Field trips, workshops, and internships available. The following is a list of possible activities beyond farm work: Sustainability Scavenger Hunt, Sensory Exploration, Human Cameras, Brown Bag Botany, Homes for Seeds, Recycling with Worms, Meet the Chickens, Soil and Water: Beyond Mud!, Watering and the “Goldilocks Principle”: What is “just right?”, Irrigation Methods: The Tinker Toys of Gardening!, and Plan a Farm.  The best way to reach Wild Willow Farm is by email: roots@sandiegoroots.org — 2550 Sunset Avenue, San Diego 92154

Wilderness Gardens (Sickler Mill) In 1881 the Sickler brothers built a grist mill along the San Luis Rey River to process grain for the area’s farmers. The stonewheels for the 30-foot-tall mill were made in France and took six months to make the journey. The mill was the first of its kind in northern San Diego County. When look at the rock foundation and iron wheel that remain from the original structure, you can imagine how important this mill was to the region’s inhabitants. Rangers offer interpretive programs by appointment, and visitors to the gardens will enjoy miles of hiking trails that wind through riparian and oak woodland and open grasslands. Contact: 760-742-1631 — 14209 Highway 76 Pala, CA 92059